Wednesday, November 26, 2008

Jobs! Jobs! Jobs!

You know the grim statistics: unemployment is rising. Well, here are some job leads for you, courtesy of the Calif. Governor Arnold S.'s office:

Fernandez Government Solutions, Legislative/Executive Assistant for lobbying firm. Must be motivated, organized, have excellent communication skills. Knowledge of Legislative process a plus. Competitive salary, benefits. Please e-mail cover letter, resume: or contact: 916 448 7567 (12/3)

American Lung Association, Policy Analyst on air quality and global warming regulatory issues, write position letters, statements, assist with advocacy and outreach. 3 plus years experience, excellent oral/written communication skills. $45,000-55,000. Resume, cover letter: (11/21)

California Association of Health Plans seeks a full-time Administrative Assistant to provide support to our Legislative Affairs department. Familiarity with legislative process preferred. Competitive salary/benefits. Visit for more information. (12/2)
Associate Lobbyist, California Catholic Conference. Public policy advocacy, focus on Hispanic legislators/community leaders. Legislative advocacy experience, college degree, familiar with Catholic teachings, bi-lingual (oral/written) Spanish/English. Some travel required. $38,000-45,000. Cover letter, resume: (11/20)

Assemblymember-elect Bob Blumenfield seeks experienced scheduler for Capitol office. Resumes to Colleen Beamish,, or call 530 758 5470. Also seeks Field Representative for Los Angeles District Office. Resumes to Samantha Stevens,, 818 731 7336. Salaries based on experience. (11/20)

March of Dimes seeks State Director of Public Affairs, who manages Government Relations in California. Coordinate policy agenda, lobbying and grassroots activities within the state. Salary commensurate with experience. More information: Associate State Director at (12/11).

Support the Senate Fellowship Program and LegiSchool. Administrative Support Assistant II. Job No. 100197. Full-time. Support the Senate Fellowship Program and LegiSchool. Position, renewable annually contingent upon funding, work performance and the recommendation of the supervisor. $2,505-$3,758/mo. Duties will include, but are not limited, to travel arrangements, web research, and database entry. Required: Intermediate computer skills; MS Office, especially Access. Knowledge of university and state policies and procedures, especially travel related; knowledge of state government through experience useful. Great benefits! View full description online at:; Open until filled. ADA/EEO. For more information, contact David Pacheco at or at Ext. 4160. (11/3).

The San Diego Unified School District is looking for a Legislative Affairs Manager in Sacramento. This person will serve as the primary contact for the San Diego Unified School District with members of the California State Legislature, Department of Education, and education interest groups. The link to the application and requirements is here: (10/30).

The Public Policy Institute of California (PPIC) has active job listings for research positions based in PPIC’s Sacramento Center. In particular we are recruiting for Research Fellow and Visiting Fellow positions. Full position descriptions are available on the PPIC website, As an Equal Opportunity and Affirmative Action employer, PPIC is committed to excellence through diversity. We encourage women and members of minority groups to apply. (10/30).

Senior Legislative Consultant, Office of Senator Oropeza. Ideal candidate must be motivated, organized, have good written and verbal communication skills to develop, analyze, & manage legislation. Minimum 2+ years Capitol experience with BA degree. Salary based on experience. Please submit resume plus cover letter to: (10/21).

Health Affairs Legislative Director, University of California – The State Governmental Relations of the University of California is seeking a person to advance the legislative interests of the University’s health sciences and services enterprise, which includes the health professions schools, research units, and UC’s five academic medical centers. The person selected will be responsible for working with and maintaining regular communication with the UC Office of the President and campus representatives, including health sciences and services issue experts, to assess and advance the University’s interests with the State Legislature and with representatives of State government on health care matters of interest to UC. Prior experience in the health care field as a consultant, lobbyist or analyst is a plus. Please contact Steve Juarez, Director of UC State Governmental Relations @ 916-445-9924 for more information or go directly to , click on Search Postings, and type in 20080366 in the Requisition No. box, and file your application electronically. (10/16).

Forward Observer, Office Manager. Seeking experienced administrative professional with excellent communications, organization and management skills for a high energy, boutique consulting firm. Competitive salary. Contact Andrew Chang at 916 444 0088 or submit resumes to (12/8)

California Grocers Association, VP/Government Affairs. Lobbying and representation before Legislature and regulatory agencies, grassroots and political programs. 10+ years experience required. Competitive salary. Details here. Fax/email resume/cover letter: 916 448 2793, (12/5)

Program Representative II ($36,108-$61,380/year) VL#11552, FFD 11/10/08. UC Davis Extension seeks employee to manage, market and implement continuing education programs in education, health sciences and public policy. See listing here. (11/10)
Legislative Consultant, JEA & Associates. Motivated, organized individual with excellent written/verbal communication skills; analyze, manage legislation; write position letters/reports. Minimum 2yrs Capitol experience, local government experience a plus. Salary commensurate with experience. Resume, cover letter: (12/5)

Planned Parenthood Los Angeles seeks Public Affairs Manager. Five years experience in public affairs/community organizing. Excellent communication skills. Familiarity with community leaders and organizations. Strong organizational skills. Salary DOE. E-mail/fax resumes:, 323 225 0613. (12/4)

McNally Temple Associates, Inc. Senior Account Executive. Responsible for managing public relations and media programs for diverse array of corporate, government, association, non-profit and political clients. Legislative/political experience strongly recommended. Competitive salary, benefits. Resume: (12/1)

Department of Conservation seeks two Legislative Analysts at the Associate Governmental Program Analyst ($4,400-5,348) level. Staff Service Analyst ($2,817-4,446) may be considered. Legislative experience desired. For more information, please see or contact Vincent Keene at (916) 445-8733. (11/14)

The California Department of Conservation is seeking highly qualified applicants for the position of Chief Counsel. The Chief Counsel advises management on issues affecting all of the department's diverse programs. $9215 - $13,381/month. For details, click here. (11/14)
The Alliance of Automobile Manufacturers - Director of Policy and Government Affairs. Responsible for formulating policy-based strategies and representing the industry before policymakers in the California legislature and executive office. Competitive salary. Details (11/10).

Internet TV Freelancer LA preferred
Seeking a freelancer to handle a fast-growing, innovative internet television channel featuring fun and entertaining lifestyle shows. Think “CNBC meets MTV.” Must have strong online and offline media skills and experience working with interactive clients. Must also have good relationships with advertising industry trades and related media (AdWeek, BrandWeek, AdAge, NY Times, etc). Will develop and execute strategic PR campaign targeting existing and potential viewers, advertisers, investors, content producers and other key audiences.

Luxury Real Estate / Luxury Resort Pros West LA
Sr. AE to VP
Seeking travel and tourism pros with luxury real estate or luxury resort experience to work at a large and growing travel and tour specialty firm. Candidates must have solid industry contacts and be top-notch pitch artists who can handle major business media as well as tour & travel and lifestyle outlets. Of course solid writing is a must. Travel tour pros who also love golf would be ideal! Qualified candidates must contact Jim Delulio at

Social Marketing Opportunity West LA
Sr. AE or Supe
Seeking candidates who are strong strategic thinkers and would enjoy working on a social marketing account with a consumer flair. The ability to understand complex issues and handle a fast-paced environment is required. This person must have the ability to multi-task and work independently as well as in a team environment. Strong writing and media relations skills a must. Any experience with environmental or other social issues a plus. Qualified candidates must contact Jim Delulio at

USC Adjunct Instructor for PR/Com Law course LA NEW!!
Will teach undergrad PR/Com Law course on Tuesday nights in the spring 2009 semester. The ideal candidate would be an attorney (past or present) with some understanding of PR. A PR pro who has worked closely with attorneys and has some understanding of PR-related legal issues would also be appropriate. If interested, please contact Jerry Swerling at

Senior Consumer Packaged Goods Talent Orange County [CA] Director
Position will lead PR campaigns for a major Fortune 250 packaged goods client at one of the rock solid, hot consumer agencies in the country. Candidates must have strong consumer branding experience; social media expertise and excellent writing and presentation skills. A record of leading major brand campaigns is essential. A great opportunity for a superstar Supervisor or Sr. Supe who's ready to move up!! Qualified candidates must contact Jim Delulio at

New York, Chicago & Washington D.C.
Healthcare PR Washington, DC
Account Supervisor, Account Director, Senior VP
Great healthcare communications firm based in Washington, D.C. is looking for pharmaceutical PR pros at various levels. Responsibilities include account management, strategic media relations, FDA drug approval activities and planning events/meetings. Candidates must have healthcare/pharmaceutical PR experience. Submit resumes to

Consumer/General PR New York
Account Director
Boutique PR agency is looking for an Account Director to run accounts and manage a team, reporting directly into the President/Owner of the agency. Accounts include a luxury real estate developer, a not-for-profit devoted to adult literacy and a world-class science research institution. Responsibilities include strategic planning, client relations, team management and account management. Candidates must have 7-10 years of agency PR experience. Please submit resume and salary requirements to

Men's Consumer PR New York
Leading consumer PR agency is looking for a Director to work on a leading men's consumer account. Responsibilities include strategic planning, client relations, team management and account management. Candidates must have 10-15 years of consumer PR experience within an agency environment and MUST have experience working on PR campaigns targeting men. Please submit resume and salary requirements to

Financial Services/PR New York
Account Supervisor
Boutique PR Firm is looking for an account supervisor to join their asset management team. Clients include billion-dollar hedge funds and a variety of "superstar" economists and asset managers-regularly appear in all of the industry's top media outlets. Responsibilities include: Managing agency-client relationship, Developing proactive and reactive strategies, Counseling client, managing staff, conducting media relations, writing, reporting, etc. Candidates must have 3-4 years of agency PR experience. Please submit resume and salary requirements to

Team Leader for New Digital PR Business New York
Seeking a technology and marketing professional with experience in performing digital/interactive campaigns. Candidate should have 3-5 years web experience and understand how to implement SEM and SEO campaigns (including Relationship Management campaigns) as well as have an idea how to effectively utilize blogs, podcasts, social networks, etc. as part of full service marketing and public relations campaigns. The ideal candidate will have a track record of creating and executing web based initiatives. The candidate should also be able to educate the company on all things Digital -- i.e., effective strategies for building online initiatives, media lists, targeting bloggers, using services such as Digg and Twitter to the firm's advantage. Please contact

Professional Services Marketing Chicago
Business Development Manager
Prestigious global law firm, is looking for a Business Development Manager to support the Global BD team, Office Administrator, Office Managing Partner, and Chicago department and practice chairs to develop and implement marketing strategies and local business development programs for the Chicago office. This candidate should have 5- 7 years of professional services marketing experience. The Business Development Manager is responsible for creating practice level strategy to develop business with current, prospective and targeted clients by working closely with the entire BD Team. The position is also responsible for the development and implementation of marketing initiatives that support the practice strategy as well as providing assistance to the Director of Marketing. Please submit resume and salary requirements to .

Tuesday, November 25, 2008

Filipina Cristeta Comerford Might Retain Presidential Chef Post

There's a good chance Pinoy-flavored food will stay in the Obama White House menu.

Though change is coming in the White House this January, there's one area where Obama's new administration isn't likely to change, reports say.

Walter Scheib, White House executive chef for Presidents Bill Clinton and George W. Bush, says in an AP interview that "there's a 90 percent chance the new administration will stick with his successor, Cristeta Comerford."

Though the job is high-profile, the work of a White House executive chef isn't fit for someone wanting a celebrity status. Being sensitive and understanding is just as important as culinary skills, given that the chef is among the few people who interact with the first family in private, former White House chefs say.

Comerford, the first woman and first minority to serve as executive chef in the White House, gets high praise in those areas.

Below is an article I wrote about Comerford back in 2005.

First Lady Head Chef In The White House is Filipina
By Yong B. Chavez

When Cristeta Comerford comes back to work from her vacation by the month’s end, she will have a full plate in front of her as she assumes her new responsibilities as the White House executive chef at that time.

Mrs. Laura Bush announced Sunday that Comerford, whom the First Lady calls by her nickname “Cris”, has been given the executive kitchen’s top post.
A Food Technology graduate of the University of the Philippines, the 42-year-old wife and mother is the first woman to get the job.

"I am delighted that Cris Comerford has accepted the position of White House executive chef," Mrs. Bush said in her press statement. "Her passion for cooking can be tasted in every bite of her delicious creations."

Comerford will be in charge of designing and executing menus for state dinners, social events, holiday functions, receptions and official luncheons hosted by President and Mrs. Bush.

The first lady top chef of the White House is trained in French classical techniques and specializes in ethnic and American cuisine. She has helped develop menus for previous special White House events including a state dinner in honor President Gloria Macapagal Arroyo.

Susan Whitson, the First Lady’s press secretary, said that Mrs. Bush was very happy with Comerford’s work in her capacity as the White House assistant chef for the past 10 years.
“She is very pleased with Cris,” Whitson said.

It took six months for the position to be filled because the First Lady wanted to make sure that the person who would replace former executive chef Walter Scheib III would be the best that they could get, Whitson added.

The search for the presidential chief chef was headed by White House social secretary Lea Berman and head usher Gary Walters.

Walters has been quoted in reports as saying that the White House executive chef is paid in the general range of $80,000 and $100,000 a year. Although it is a sizable amount, famous chefs in America get so much more than that, but the high-profile job still attracted a lot of applicants hungry for the chance to rule the president's kitchen.

“They went through hundreds of applicants, and after thoughtful consideration, they went with Cris,” Whitson said. The fact that she is a woman is a bonus, but in the end, she was chosen because she was “the best qualified”, Whitson said.

The new White House top chef, a naturalized U.S.citizen who was born in the Philippines, lives in the Washington D.C. area with her family.

About the photo:Chef Cristeta "Cris" Comerford prepares a meal inside the White House kitchen in this July 17, 2002 photo. White House Photo by Tina Hager

Friday, November 21, 2008

Philippine President's Husband Mike Arroyo Hospitalized

Update as of 3pm, PST: The President's appearance in L.A. is cancelled due to FG's hospital stay, but she will still go to Peru. Picket against her is also pushing through, per organizer.

First Gentleman Mike Arroyo is being treated at a Japan hospital at this time. On board the plane en route to Los Angeles, he suffered a heart attack. His illness is considered non-life threatening but a hospital stay is necessary.

He was with Philippine President Gloria Macapagal Arroyo during the incident. Arroyo is scheduled to hold a reception for the Fil-Am community tonight in Los Angeles.

A Philippine Consulate General official confirms that Arroyo will continue with her planned trip to the U.S., a stopover to her Peru trip for an economic summit, albeit at a delayed schedule. She is expected to arrive at the LAX at 4 p.m. PST.

Meanwhile, activist groups ALLIANCE for a JUST and LASTING PEACE in the PHILIPPINES (AJLPP), ANSWER-LA and GABNET are planning to picket tonight's event.

I will be reporting on this tonight for Balitang America and for FilipinOnline.

Wednesday, November 12, 2008

"My dad extended his vacation in the Phils & I need to mail his prescription meds. Can I use USPS?"

Yes, you can. (Heh.)

You can use the US Post Office's Express Mail International flat rate ($25.95), which is pretty reliable. I've been using it, and so far, so good. You get a tracking number and you can log online to be notified via e-mail once it's received. I tried using their Global Express service to send a small package once and it flopped - the package was returned to me because of a zip code snafu.

Tuesday, November 11, 2008

What Are You Doing This Veterans Day?

By Yong B. Chavez

Today is Veterans Day. Let's all take a moment to say a prayer for our U.S. troops overseas, and for those we have lost.

Let this also be the day when we show our appreciation for WW II's largely unheralded Filipino heroes by actively supporting their fight for equity. Do it not just today. If we Fil-Ams are not solidly and actively behind them, who do we expect to help them? If we can muster enough unity as a community to join our fellow Americans during last week's historic events, why can't we all lift a finger and just be there in whatever way for our vets who are still fighting for recognition absent our overwhelming support?

The day after the elections, I called up Eric Lachica, the tireless executive director of American Coalition for Filipino Veterans, Inc. to ask how he felt about Barack Obama's win.

"I'm thankful that he won," he said, adding that the President-elect has expressed his support for Filipino WWII veterans many times. Lachica is hoping for a bipartisan support for the veterans, a likelier prospect now that lawmakers have become more supportive in light of Obama's win.

Finally, change will also come to the lives of our aging veterans, it looks like. When a call goes out to support them by contacting the lawmakers on their behalf, we need to take the time to do that.

The veterans and their supporters' plans include working for the passage of a bill that would get the vets a lump sum amount and a much-delayed official recognition of their bravery during the war.

Here is their latest letter to President-elect Obama:


November 6, 2008

The Honorable Barack Obama
President-elect of the United States
Washington DC
Attn: Ruchi Bhomik, Legislative Aide

RE: Congratulations and Thanks

Dear Senator Obama:

On behalf our elderly Filipino American World War II veterans, their families and supporters, we the undersigned extend our congratulations on your victory Tuesday and best wishes to your incoming administration. We trust your inspiring and pragmatic leadership in solving the current economic crisis, the creation of well-paying jobs, overcoming the difficult challenges in Iraq and Afghanistan, and protecting the interests of the American People.

Moreover, we also deeply appreciate your public appeals to your colleagues on behalf of our Filipino WWII veterans. In your February 25, 2008 statement on the anniversary of Filipino People Power revolution, you wrote:

“On this anniversary, I urge my colleagues in Congress to honor the Filipino veterans who bravely fought with American troops in World War II. Approximately 250,000 Filipino troops joined American forces to fight in World War II, but too many of these heroes are still being denied benefits. The time has come for Congress to honor the Filipino veterans of World War II by finally enacting the Filipino Veterans Equity Act... I applaud Chairman Akaka's leadership on this issue and will continue to urge my colleagues to provide the benefits and recognition these veterans deserve.”

With your early assistance in June 2007, Sen. Akaka’s bill S. 1315, “Veterans Benefits Enhancement Act” was finally passed in the Senate by overwhelming vote of 96 to 1 on April 24, 2008 and includes our Filipino WWII veterans.

On behalf of our 4,000 members and Mr. Patrick Ganio Sr., ACFV president, we look forward in working with your senate staff to successfully complete Sen. Akaka’s bill in the few weeks remaining in the 110th Congress.

Very sincerely
FRANCO ARCEBAL, ACFV Vice President Membership
ERIC LACHICA, Executive Director

Art CALEDA -Honolulu: Faustino BACLIG –Los Angeles; Avelino ASUNCION- San Diego; Filemon MORDENO -San Francisco; Antonio TAPERLA –S.F.; Dominador VALDEZ- San Jose; Jose NUEGA, Sacramento; Ernesto ANOLIN –Delano; Amador MONTERO & Thelma SEVILLA- Seattle; Lourdes CEBALLOS -Chicago; Joe GONZALES- Houston; Fred DIAZ –Jersey City; Pacifico TIMBOL- NY; Maurese OWENS- Arlington VA; Celestino ALMEDA- Guillermo RUMINGAN; VA; Romy SAN ANTONIO- Va. Beach; Dick AQUINO –Jacksonville FL; and others.
[picture c/o Eric Lachica]


This Thursday, November 13, at 10 a.m., you can join millions of people throughout Southern California in the ShakeOut Drill, the largest earthquake preparedness activity in U.S. history.

Simulating a 7.8 quake, participants throughout SoCal will duck, cover and hold simultaneously to do the nation's biggest earthquake drill.

The Great Southern California Shake Out is meant to teach each resident what to do in case of an earthquake, a much-needed exercise, considering how the area has always been known as a likely site of a big earthquake. The last jolt epicentered in Chino Hills, a city in the Inland Empire where about 51,000 Fil-Ams live, was a shaky reminder of why we all need to be prepared.

Please register today to join the drill.

Monday, November 10, 2008

Obama has come to the White House

Obama has come to the White House

The just concluded US presidential election – in state of the art digital automation – is cause for envy in so far as RP is concerned. But, It is not as if steps in this direction have not been initiated except that the Supreme Court according to its worldview – believes that it cannot be applied in our contemporary political culture. Thus, it will always be the case that counting the votes would proceed manually such that the longer it takes to finish the count – in days and weeks – the more likely it has opened windows of opportunity for cheating. America on the other hand counts push-button and RP counts scandalously primitive.

Obama and McCain were luminous figures seen in the world stage as arch contenders to who should run corporate America after President George W. Bush. And Obama got 64,414,843 of so-called popular votes and 364 of so-called electoral votes against McCain getting 56,735,145 and 162, respectively. Obama’s victory in this presidential race flips a new page in US political history as the first ever African-American president with McCain conceding even before the last vote is counted.

In the realm of the senses, there is nothing McCain can do to outsmart Obama whose oratory is par excellence. Given images of two competing candidates, McCain receives the short end of the bargain, McLuhan-wise – where ‘the medium is the message’. Obama is seen and heard to have presented his promissory note under the terms and conditions that come agreeable to any contracting party. Thus, there is little difficulty for every voting American to sign this social contract offered by Obama as the simple epitome of the American dream.

Obama is highly educated, McCain isn’t. Obama is an eloquent orator, McCain just isn’t. Obama carries charisma, McCain is yet to acquire the virus. Obama attracts patronage from both the blacks and the whites in, more or less, equal degree while McCain only got half of the racial deal. With another under-educated as chosen running mate, McCain failed to check his political equation. Obama has been better paired with his running mate. With just these two presidential wannabes viewed in the viewing screen, there is no way McCain can attract adherents any more than Obama can – with such ease and facility – typical of the educated class in the US social pyramid. Obama, after all, graduated his law magna cum laude at Harvard Law School while McCain almost at the tail-end of the graduating class in the US Naval Academy.

Perhaps, speech power has been the name of the game in this US election. Every word spoken by Obama seems calculated to summon favor from any average listener or viewer. His speech proceeded from a methodology already known to most Americans with delivery alone qualifying as superb and a cut above the rest. The text of his message comes as though God has spoken before a revering flock – a speech that has warmed the hearts of most Americans, whites or non-whites. Obama’s overall audience impact has really touched every a listener who has been so frustrated with the way Bush has run US politics that one school of thought believes Obama has been a principal beneficiary of this hatred for Bush war policy – viewed as ‘crimes against humanity’.

No wonder then that the punchline – “Change has come to America” – really placed the viewing universe in some kind of trance. Bush bedeviled the American people, and Obama kind of probably ‘angelized’ the new and contemporary American population. Between the devil and the angel, Americans across social ladders, tend to like Obama better than any Bush protégé, or McCain. Given then a prevailing national mood, Obama can skillfully order how his chips will fall in place. And he did just right for his dream to become the next and 44th president of the world’s superpower that is America.

What will US politics be like under an Obama administration? Policy issues have already been drawn, even maybe neatly by the new world leader. Some of these send “shark attacks effect” making the world uncertain for countries that used to benefit economically from US policy directions under Bush. If Obama pursues the creative approach of going insular by focusing largely on its domestic economy, then world trade as we used to know it might have to be configured differently under an Obama regime. If all jobs go to citizens of America, if all goods go to the American people, if all services are just for the Americans – this consuming all-American protectionist policy might mean making US a closed society than what it used to be and imperiled its own national life.

Whatever policy directions Obama will take ought to be beyond fault. With two wars – that in Irag and Afghanistan – first in the political agenda, Obama is left with not much choice but perhaps to withdraw troops in this beleaguered nations if only to cut on the defense budget. With the economic meltdown US is into, Obama might have to make drastic fiscal reforms without having to reinvent the wheel like say – strengthening a protectionist policy in the best tradition of the Democrats where he belongs. A host of pressing social, economic, political, and security issues have to be addressed and Obama thinks too honestly that indeed US meets the challenge in his favorite line – “Yes we can”.

It still bears watching how Obama will reformat a prevailing if irreversible economic curse that appears to be redeemable only with as much as a $700 billion bail out. Bush is heard to have wished Obama hits the ground running. Truly, US has been seen to be at the verge of a cliff to such extent that it seems like there is only 24-hour left to save present-day America.

After the whole electoral exercise, Obama must get down to business. An economic turnaround or a miracle cannot just come about – from a culture of overspending – that has characterized the Bush’ government. Nor can US’ global position as world policeman be compromised as though pulling out US troops in war-torn Iraq and Afghanistan will do the trick. It bears watching whether Obama can bring US economy back on its track especially by giving middle class tax cuts to some 95% of American workers if true anything can be done to uplift some 37 million poor Americans that corporate American has neglected for many years. With Obama breaking the century-old racial barrier, it is hoped that political assassinations by some kind of feudal supremacist vogue would be a thing of the past.

(Email to:

Wednesday, November 5, 2008


LOS ANGELES, CA – The Filipino-American Service Group, Inc. (FASGI) through its nonpartisan voter engagement project, FILVOTE, conducted a phone banking drive to encourage Filipino-Americans to go out and vote on Election Day. This drive was started a week before Election day and peaked during the day itself. FASGI volunteers and staff spearheaded the drive and called everyone on its registered voter list. Most of these people were assisted by FILVOTE to register or re-register to vote.

Majority of the volunteers at FASGI noted that at 1030a.m. most of the Fil-Ams they called already voted and the small percentage that didn’t vote yet said that they are on their way to their designated precincts. Mr.. Peping Baclig, a Filipino-American Veteran, called mostly the Filipino Veteran American seniors, he said that almost all of them already voted through the vote by mail or permanent absentee vote. They collectively observed that there was an unprecedented enthusiasm and excitement among the Filipino-Americans to participate on this election.

There were a lot of first time voters. Those that just felt that they have a need to participate on this historic election. According to one first time voter, Maria Corazon Paus, who was recently naturalized as an American Citizen on October 9, 2008 , “I am elated to participate and feel the benefits of being an American, to have a voice in the process of selecting a new leader to guide the course of this Country I now call mine.” She said her wait to vote was not that long, about 15mins at the Knights of Columbus precinct at Temple Street in Los Angeles . She was there in line at 9 a.m. Although she voted Republican she says she is happy that Barack Obama won because “he has given a lot of Americans hope for a better future” she goes further “I am very happy that I cast my vote, even if my candidate lost, I feel that I still won, we all won.”

It is evident from this election that a huge turnout of Filipino Americans came out and voted. This is a departure from the perception that Fil-Ams are apathetic to the American Democratic process.
[text & photo: Fasgi, Sherwin Shakramy - Legal Program Coordinator]

Tuesday, November 4, 2008


History is made, and we are part of it.

Congratulations, President-elect Barack Obama. Congratulations, too, to Sen. John McCain for such a classy concession speech.

This morning I left home first to vote, and then to polling places in West Covina and Walnut, Calif. to report live on FilAm voting experiences for ABS-CBN's news shows.

I was supposed to wait for a family member so that we can vote together after office hours but I just couldn't take the chance, if for some reason I can't be at my polling place by 8 p.m.

I couldn't wait to vote. I couldn't even sleep last night because this is all I think about recently. This was my first time to vote, and there's no chance I will squander this right and privilege.

But after voting, I put aside the personal and went to work to report on today's historic elections.

In two live phone patch reports for ABS-CBN, (and for LA18's Kababayan LA - a last-minute request from colleague and friend, Jannelle So), I spoke about how Filipinos supported each candidadate.

Among the Fil-Am voters I interviewed in the area, a majority (around 70%) supported McCain. "He's a veteran." "He is just better." "He's a Republican." were the reasons they gave. Someone also said that her church told her to vote for McCain so she did.

Those who favored Obama were more detailed in their reasoning: "His economic policies make more sense." "Kay Bush, nawalan ako ng trabaho, nasira ang ekonomiya, so bakit ko iboboto ang kagaya rin nya?" "I voted for him because he gives me hope. I hope that one day, I will see a Filipino American president, too."

The news about Obama's win might not be great for those Filipinos we talked to, but as one Fil Am voter said: "Whoever we voted for, what's important is how we claimed our place and believed in our power as Americans - immigrant or not."

What's in store for FilAms who didn't believe in Obama? In his acceptance speech, Obama acknowledged those who didn't vote for him. He said, "I hear you, too."

But will they hear him, too? That is the hope.

Sunday, November 2, 2008


The Los Angeles County Registrar-Recorder/County (RR/CC) headquarters is open Monday for voters wishing to vote early. Due to the tremendous turnout, they extended the office hours over the weekend but the lines were still long.

RR/CC Clerk Dean Logan said, “Early voting activity in L.A. County reflects high interest by voters wishing to cast their ballots prior to Election Day. They are flocking to the RR/CC in record breaking numbers. The weekend of October 25-26, we began a ‘seven day a week cycle’ open to the public for early voting. During that weekend alone over 2,600 voters came into the office, with another 1,300+ the following Monday.”

November 3rd office hours are 8 a.m. to 5 p.m. The office is located at 12400 Imperial Hwy., Norwalk, CA 90650.

To date, over 977,000 voters have requested vote by mail ballots, and more than 329,500 have returned their voted ballot by mail or in-person to the RR/CC.
“The number of vote by mail ballots requested has surpassed the prior record from the November 2004 General Election, where with the same number of days remaining before the election, 740,000 requests had been made. The total vote by mail ballots cast in that election was 701,693 representing approximately 22 percent of the total votes cast”, Logan said.